Fever during pregnancy is not necessarily a bad thing in itself. Although many people usually associate a rise in body temperature with something negative, a fever is by no means a disease in its own right.
Rather, your body is making it clear to you that something is going on in your organism or that the immune system is running at full speed. The body may be reacting to an infection or is busy fighting off diseases.
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Fever In Pregnancy – Often An Alarm Signal
Fever in pregnancy is usually an indication that the metabolic processes are now literally running at full speed to tackle a cold in pregnancy or to alleviate the associated symptoms. In this respect, fever in pregnancy is something quite good.
On the other hand, however, fever can also be a risk during pregnancy. With every degree Celsius by which your body temperature increases, metabolic activity is increased by 12 percent. This means stress for the female body – especially during pregnancy.
When Is A Fever Dangerous?
At what point fever is dangerous depends primarily on the physical constitution of the expectant mother. Even a 12-percent acceleration of metabolic activity is accompanied by an increase in heart rate of up to 15 beats per minute. For some of those affected, this is extremely stressful.
But it is not only for the pregnant woman that such a development poses a certain risk. Rather, fever during pregnancy is also a danger for the unborn baby that should not be underestimated. When fever is dangerous, what you can do and whether you can even prevent fever in pregnancy – that’s what you’ll find out in this guide.
When Is Fever Risky During Pregnancy?
What is fever and when is fever dangerous for expectant mothers? In general, fever poses a certain health risk for pregnant women as well as for the unborn child. Especially if fever during pregnancy is associated with chills as well as with exhaustion and headaches and aching limbs.
Depending on the physical constitution and with regard to the individual body temperature, three basic categories of fever are distinguished for a cold in pregnancy:
- The slightly elevated or subfebrile temperature: up to a maximum of 37.8 degrees Celsius.
- Moderate to elevated fever: between 37.9 and 38.4 degrees Celsius.
- High fever: more than 38.5 degrees Celsius.
The causes of fever in pregnancy can be of various kinds. Thus, even a cold in pregnancy can cause fever in pregnancy.
If a flu-like infection is long-lasting, this can also be accompanied by a sometimes greatly increased body temperature. Especially with measles or scarlet fever, with pneumonia, as a reaction to a previous vaccination, fever in pregnancy is often the result.
What To Do If A Flu-like Infection Lasts?
At >what point does a fever pose a danger to expectant mothers and their unborn child? This is a question asked by many women who have already had a flu-like infection for a long time or who have fallen ill with a cold during pregnancy. Experts warn that very high fevers during pregnancy can be extremely dangerous.
In the worst case, this could even result in malformations in the child’s CNS (central nervous system). Therefore, extreme caution is required in the event of a very high fever during pregnancy.
When Fever Could Be Dangerous
A slight fever during pregnancy is generally not unusual. For example, it is quite conceivable that an elevated temperature is measured for a short time as part of a cold during pregnancy.
A slight fever during pregnancy, in which the body temperature is less than 38.5 degrees Celsius, is no cause for concern. There is also no danger for the unborn baby under these circumstances.
However, you should keep an eye on the symptoms and your physical well-being. If your condition worsens, you should be on the alert.
Even if your temperature is slightly elevated, you should take it easy and practice mindfulness. Keep an eye on your body temperature as continuously as possible. If you have any questions, it is best to contact your midwife or doctor to be on the safe side.
The situation is completely different, however, if, for example, a flu-like infection lasts for a long time and the fever is already very high during pregnancy. Your baby is then in acute danger because premature labor could be induced. In the worst case, premature birth would be the consequence.
From a body temperature of more than 38.5 degrees Celsius, the application of cold compresses or similar home remedies is no longer sufficient. Under these circumstances, a visit to the doctor is unavoidable for safety reasons. He or she will prescribe antipyretic medication and, if necessary, take further measures.
Especially if you have a fever in the early stages of your pregnancy, caution is advised. Experts have found out that a strongly increased body temperature or prolonged fever in early pregnancy can lead to heart palpitations and associated hypoglycemia. This is a severe state of exhaustion.
Energy reserves are virtually depleted, which can have an overall detrimental effect on both mother and child. Equally worrying is the fact that it could even lead to embryonic malformations unless timely treatment is given for severe fever in pregnancy.
In the event that your gynecologist is not available when you need his help, it is essential that you go to the emergency ward of the local hospital instead. Generally, in larger cities, there is an emergency department “just in case” for expectant mothers on weekends.
Cold In Pregnancy Or Flu-like Infection?
Flu symptoms are often confused with cold symptoms. However, a flu-like infection tends to become noticeable more gradually over the long term. As soon as you feel a slight scratching in your throat, you feel a little weak and if your nose is running, these could already be the first signs of influenza infection.
With the real and far more dangerous flu, on the other hand, the symptoms occur virtually “overnight”. High fever, exhaustion, headache, aching limbs, and a severe feeling of malaise are among the typical signs of flu.
The immune system of expectant mothers is weakened. This is why the flu is particularly hard on pregnant women because their bodies have to cope with sometimes severe immunological and physiological changes.
At the same time, however, the female immune system is fully occupied with protecting the unborn baby in the womb. As a result, expectant mothers feel even weaker and have even less energy during the flu than is already the case with non-pregnant women suffering from a flu-like infection.
In general, pregnant women are more susceptible to influenza and should therefore take special care of themselves.
What You Should Do If You Have A Fever During Pregnancy
Take care of yourself and allow yourself rest and recuperation. This is the only way your body can regenerate. At the same time, rest is also the best thing for your unborn baby.
It is important that you sleep a lot. Due to the fever that often accompanies pregnancy. Your energy reservoir is only minimally filled. Listen to these signals of your body and sleep a lot.
Sleep is known to be the best medicine. In most cases, the symptoms will have subsided by the next day or the day after. The severe flu, on the other hand, can last about seven to ten days.
Because you sweat due to the fever during pregnancy, your body loses fluid. You must compensate for this deficit by taking in fluids. It is best to drink unsweetened teas, minerals, or tap water.
The ideal amount is about two to three liters. By drinking fluids you improve the electrolyte balance, so that you will certainly feel better again soon. Even though you may feel little appetite during fever in pregnancy – light food is important now.
However, avoid protein- and fat-containing foods and, if possible, only eat fruits and vegetables as well as spelt bread or rusks. Cool compresses and calf wraps are a proven home remedy to reduce fever a little during pregnancy. Experience has also shown that a bath in body-warm water is very beneficial.
If the fever does not subside even after several days, you should ask your doctor at what point fever is a risk factor for you and your child and what else you can do against fever in pregnancy.
How Can You Prevent Fever During Pregnancy?
It is generally very difficult to prevent a cold or flu. If a wave of flu is “in the air”, the bacteria are usually transmitted by droplets. In large crowds, it is difficult to avoid people who are having coughing or sneezing fit.
It is equally difficult to avoid coming into contact with objects that are already wet with germs and pathogens. Shopping carts in supermarkets, holders in public transport, but also the door handles, etc. in your own four walls are usually “teeming” with bacteria.
Because the immune system of pregnant women is weakened anyway, expectant mothers are generally more susceptible to colds and flu infections. However, you have the option of having a flu vaccination. This is even recommended by experienced doctors because it will even strengthen the defenses of your little “lodger”.
A good physical constitution facilitates the defense against “disease makers”. Therefore, even before you become pregnant, you should make sure to exercise, eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of fluids. In this way, you will be doing your body some good in the short and long term – and can therefore largely avoid the risk of falling ill with a fever during pregnancy.
Despite all preventive measures, it is not always possible to remain free of colds or flu throughout the entire pregnancy. However, if the symptoms are too bothersome or severe, you can resort to paracetamol.
This preparation has a fever-reducing effect. It is not harmful to the unborn baby in the womb, but should still only be taken in exceptional cases. And only after consulting your doctor.
Fever After Pregnancy – What You Should Know
Many new mothers suffer from puerperal fever after giving birth. Reasons for this can be wound healing disorders or breast infections. A milk stasis is also sometimes a trigger for a strongly increased body temperature after the birth of a child.
The immune system is still weakened, so the stresses of childbirth – both mental and physical – could lead to a strong fever in the puerperium.
Fever, in general, is not a bad thing. It is a signal from the human body that the organism is currently “struggling” with something. Mild fever usually does not pose any danger, but high fever during pregnancy is very much a cause for alarm.
The point at which a fever can be dangerous for mother and child, or the point at which fever is a reason to see a doctor immediately, usually depends on the individual case. Depending on your physical constitution and whether other symptoms are apparent, it makes sense to seek medical advice if a high fever occurs during pregnancy.
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